Supporting Agile Processes within the Norwegian Infrastructure Industry - Integrating BIM-software with task and process management tools
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The Norwegian infrastructure industry is suffering from long lead times for large projects. This is due to several factors; the fragmented nature of the industry, the lack of involvement from stakeholders and project owners, as well as the lack of transparency and involvement between disciplines, to name a few. The Norwegian government has established an objective to reduce the planning and design time for these projects by 50%. There are ongoing initiatives for implementing Concurrent Engineering in the industry, a process methodology aiming to execute the different phases of a project simultaneously, as opposed to sequentially. Samtidig Plan og Prosjektering (SPP) is an ongoing Norwegian R&D project, with the main objective of exploring new process methodologies and technologies to achieve the aforementioned time reduction objective. Experts from several companies in the industry participate in this project. One of the sub-tasks is to explore ICT tools that can aid in reducing the planning and design time, which is what this thesis concerns. By drawing inspiration from agile software development, this project explores how tools used for software development projects (in this case Jira) can be configured to be suitable for the infrastructure industry, and analyzing the potential of such tools based on pilot projects and user feedback. In addition to this, the thesis describes how an integration platform was developed, with the objective of connecting various systems in the infrastructure industry, named the IssueConnector. The IssueConnector connects systems such as BIM-software to the aforementioned tools for software development projects. The purpose of this connection is to eliminate the need to register updates in more than one system, by executing automatic updates in all connected systems in real time. It was developed and tested entirely during the course of this project, and it managed to gain a lot of interest in the infrastructure industry. An indefinite amount of systems is able to connect to the IssueConnector, but for this project, it connected BIM-software (NovaPoint/EasyAccess) to Jira, an issue tracker for software development projects. The project resulted in two successful pilot projects for Jira and the IssueConnector, connecting Jira to EasyAccess and synchronizing these in real time. Both pilots were conducted by companies on real infrastructure projects, and the feedback from both pilots were unanimously positive. It is broadly agreed upon that solutions such as the IssueConnector have great potential in the industry. A questionnaire regarding the potential of Jira was also distributed to experts in different disciplines within the infrastructure industry, to people who had already tested Jira. The result of this states that almost all of the respondents believe Jira has potential in the industry, and that it will greatly contribute to the overall project management of such fragmented projects.